Behold The Future of Solar Roofs09 March 2017

All the benefits of solar panels - without the panels

In the human race’s quest to fuel our demanding needs, without totally destroying the planet in the meantime, solar energy is an option that ticks all the boxes; it’s clean, it’s renewable and it works – even in a country such as Britain not known for its high temperatures and days of balmy sunshine.

Yet - one big drawback is (and there is no polite way to say this) – solar panels on top of roofs are ugly and cumbersome, even if they are effective.

So, news of a unique invention that offers the same benefits as solar panels, but is much more aesthetically pleasing, is naturally something to celebrate. So, what is this wonder product?

Welcome to the World of Solar Roof Tiles.

At this stage, solar tiles are still in development by SolarCity and Telsa, so there are many unanswered questions.

In theory, this progression makes perfect sense – why have a roof and panels on top, if one product can do the same job? However, until they are fully tested, it is unsure whether they will live up to the creators claims.

However, with the information that has already been circulated, it is possible to start surmising some advantages and disadvantages of this revolutionary product:

The Advantages
  • They look good - these are designed to blend in with other roofing types. The technical aspect of the tile that does the magic of creating electricity is hidden within the tile – unlike traditional panels, it is invisible from the street below.

  • Cutting back on materials – instead of tiles and panels, you just have tiles, so overall less materials and manufacturing are needed to do the same job.
  • Less stress on the roof – without the extra burden of heavy panels, the roof takes less weight and hence, less stress.

  • Strong – these tiles are reputed to be strong enough to walk on, and will stand up to the rigours of the weather like any other roofing tiles.

  • Snow melting – heating elements could be incorporated to act as defrosters against snow.
The Disadvantages

Ok, so those were the good points – let’s look at some slightly less welcoming aspects:

  • Cost this is always going to be the biggest issue this type of product faces, as it will by nature cost a lot to replace the average roof with these brand-spanking, technically advanced tiles. The creators claim the cost of a new roof, including the energy savings it will afford, will make it a viable option against any high-end roofing material. Reading between the lines, if you already have an expensive type of roof, great. For the rest of the population there will be a hefty installation bill.

  • Efficiency the prototypes are 2% less efficient than a typical panel. This may improve, but the design of the tile will limit this factor.

  • Airflow panels sit on a frame above the roof, allowing air to flow and keep them cool. The ventilation properties of these tiles have yet to be discussed.

  • Leasing if you lease your solar panels, then change your mind, they can be removed. This is not such a simple option if the solar panel is also your roof.

  • Availability – we can’t answer this right now, as they are still being tested in North America. Installation teams will need special training, plus, they will need to know how to fix them if anything goes wrong. All this takes time. All we can say is – watch this space!

As this prototype moves forward, the disadvantages will naturally decrease. After all, can you remember how expensive the first computer was? Now they are everyday items.

Whatever happens, this is an exciting development for the world of roofing, and here at Morgan Asphalte we will keep you updated on any more developments.

Posted in Roofing, News and tagged solar, tiles.
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